If the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee has his way, his first witness during the panel’s upcoming impeachment inquiry will be Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat and chairman of the Intelligence Committee who led the first round of mostly private hearings last month.
“The first and foremost person who needs to testify is Adam Schiff,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) (above right) said, while adding that Schiff had “compared himself to a special counsel.”
Then-special prosecutor Ken Starr, who was involved in the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, testified during the proceedings in the late 1990s.
“[Schiff] has put himself into that position … If he chooses not to [testify], I really question his veracity and what he’s putting in his report,” Collins added in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
“It’s easy to hide behind a report… but it’s going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions about what his staff knew how he knew, what he knew about the whistleblower report,” Collins said.
Members of Congress generally have immunity from legal proceedings so it’s not clear that Collins could compel Schiff to testify even if he were subpoenaed.
Schiff is scheduled to release a report Monday on his committee’s findings, then provide members of Congress 24 hours to examine it before a vote sends it over to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (above left). His committee will then be tasked with drafting articles of impeachment.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked the Georgia Republicans if he saw “anything wrong with the president conditioning support of Ukraine to that country investigating some of the president’s political rivals,” the alleged impetus behind Democrats’ impeachment push.
In response, Collins suggested that Wallace was asking him a loaded question.
“The premise of your question is based on witnesses who agree with your premise,” Collins responded.
“I do not believe it, so I’m not going to answer a hypothetical which is designed to simply say that the president did something improper,” Collins said, adding that “he did nothing improper.”